Europe is doing it right: A group of major cell phone manufacturers that control 90 percent of the market–including Nokia and Sony Ericsson–have backed a European Union standard for phone chargers that would mean that buying a new phone wouldn’t require you to throw out the old charger.
Reuters reports that the standard only applies to data-enabled phones, which are expected to account for half of all phone sales in 2010. European consumers will be able to buy standardized phones that use a micro-USB socket starting next year.
The big question: When is this coming to the United States? Apple has sort of hit on a standard for chargers, given that the iPhone and iPod use the same Dock Connector. But the compatibility ends once you leave the Apple family of mobile devices. (And isn’t universal even with Apple gadgets: Recent iPhones and iPods don’t work with older car chargers.)
Why can’t others agree to use the same charger technology? Money is obviously part of it. The cell phone companies and stores have to love socking customers with a new $35 car charger every time they buy a new phone. But wouldn’t the goodwill of coming up with an environmentally friendly system go a lot further with customers?
Imagine not having to dig through a drawer full of cords, trying to find the right one that fits your phone. Or when a out of town guest visits and forgets their own charger, you’d easily be able to share. Hopefully the EU movement will spread quickly on this side of the pond.